We live in a dynamic time. Neil Armstrong is gone, but the Mars Curiosity roves on. Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer (Stanford ’97, ’99) is the youngest CEO in the Fortune 500 and its record 20th female. In November, most of us will vote in our first presidential election.
So, too, it is a dynamic time for those seniors returning to Stanford this year.
I just returned from six months abroad in Germany, and I’m currently in an awkward phase of readjustment. Why are dollar bills all the same size? Why are strangers being friendly to me? Where is the recycling? A transition so major after such a long time away can be difficult to digest… not least because the German diet consists primarily of meat and potatoes. But I digress.
With a couple of weeks before my senior year at Stanford, I’m also readjusting to the bizarre reality that Stanford Round 4 is right around the corner. As the inevitable bucket lists will undoubtedly show, I’m far from done here, with several more turns of the Circle of Death before I’ll kick off my flip flops and leave the Bubble. What will it mean to say goodbye?
Perhaps a good place to start is with my expectations coming in to Stanford. I love talking to new frosh about their majors, because all of them are going to double major in CS and IR with a minor in modern languages while keeping the door open for med school. You go, kids. I giggle now, but frankly I wasn’t so different. If the Kristi of 2009 had gotten her way, I’d be majoring in MatSci, sailing varsity, playing for Calypso, singing for Testimony, and dancing with Swingtime. I would also, apparently, never sleep.
As it turns out, I am doing none of those things. Yet I am blissfully happy with exactly where my Stanford experience has taken me. The beauty of Stanford is how it opens you up to new goals and dreams you never imagined possible. Even as an upperclassman you can suddenly find interests where you least expect them. As a Stanford friend of mine wrote, “Two of my absolute favorite things to do now? …I only really picked them up sophomore / junior year!” It’s never too late to find and follow your passions.